Equatorial Launch Australia announces new GM of Arnhem Space Centre as international interest in launching from the spaceport grows and redevelopment ramps up in readiness for next launches.

12 October 2023, Adelaide, Australia

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), owner and operator of Australia’s leading spaceport, the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC), today announced Craig Gibbons as its new General Manager, Arnhem Space Centre. This critical appointment has been made as international interest in launching from the spaceport increases and as ELA prepares for its next launches on the back of signing its first multi-launch customer, South Korean rocket company, INNOSPACE.
Craig’s appointment marks a pivotal point for ELA as the company bolsters its leadership team and skill base in readiness to service up to seven rocket companies to be based at the Arnhem Space Centre commencing in 2025. Craig will take on the newly created position to oversee the phase 2 development of the spaceport and support ELA’s new ‘resident launcher’ operating model – a multi-user commercial spaceport servicing several co-located newspace rocket companies, each conducting multiple launches over multi-year campaigns.

Group CEO and Executive Chairman of Equatorial Launch Australia, Michael Jones said, “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Craig to this critical role within ELA. As we prepare for our next launches Craig’s appointment is vital to ensure we meet our target of developing a world-class spaceport and deliver on our promise to provide first-class launch services to our rocket launchers and their payload customers.”

ELA has grown significantly since its three successful launches with NASA in 2022, and attention has now turned to attracting international ‘newspace’ rocket companies to the site to set up as ‘resident launchers’, the first of which is INNOSPACE, with other signings imminent.

“As new launch vehicles come to market, the requirements on spaceports are changing. The past decade has seen a seismic shift in the development of new commercial launch vehicles to meet the needs of the growing small satellite market in this newspace era,” Mr Jones said. “As the industry matures and transitions from institutional launch to increasing commercial launch requirements, we see an opportunity for the Arnhem Space Centre to service this new generation of space companies and offer an alternative to congested overseas spaceports. Craig’s broad background of leading complicated and highly technical businesses and programs to deliver successful outcomes for customers positions him well to take on the project.” said Mr Jones.

With a foundation as an Army Officer and a Helicopter Pilot, Craig Gibbons brings over 30 years of experience in roles providing leadership in operations and transformation. Following his defence force career, Craig made the successful transition into Senior Executive roles within commercial settings. His most recent role in Auckland, NZ, was as the CEO of Northern Rescue Helicopter Limited where he oversaw the transition of two existing trusts into a new contemporary aeromedical organisation. Prior to that he was General Manager, CareFlight Operations (Northern Territory based) where he led a multitude of commercial contracts and co-developed the strategy and led the winning bid for the delivery of the NT Interstate Dedicated Aeromedical Jets contract.

Craig also brings to ELA experience in the Information Technology, Aerospace and Defence industries from roles held at Raytheon, NRMA, and Fuji Xerox as well Olympic security planning, integrations and operations support for the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games.
A graduate of the University of NSW where he obtained a Master of Business and Technology, Craig is also a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
ELA is on a mission to be the pre-eminent multi-user commercial space launch company providing testing, launch and recovery of space vehicles and payloads flown to and from all space orbits. The Arnhem Space Centre, in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia is located 12 degrees south of the equator, offering rocket companies and their payload customers multiple orbit options, operational freedom and simplicity for their launch and mission design.

Craig joins the existing ELA executive team including Group CEO and Executive Chairman, Michael Jones; GM Operations and Launch, Ben Tett; GM Space Technologies and Engineering, Adrien Doucet and GM Finance and Commercial, Russell Shaw.

To learn more, view Craig’s Linkedin here.